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-   -   Eliminate helmet requirement to increase ridership? (https://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/1138418-eliminate-helmet-requirement-increase-ridership.html)

rumrunn6 03-15-18 02:09 PM

Eliminate helmet requirement to increase ridership?
 
um, don't think so :foo:

FYI - this is about New Zealand

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-...ithout-helmets

here in MA, only kids are required to wear helmets

Maelochs 03-15-18 02:20 PM

if more people are dying of obesity/inactivity-related issues ... then any exercise beats no exercise.

Almost every body I know grew up riding without helmets ... and they aren't dead.

Everybody I know who has died has died of other things.

i stopped needing people to think for me a long time ago ... Nanny-state fear-based thinking is Not a good thing.

Hippiebrian 03-15-18 02:38 PM

The risks of having increased obesity is far higher than the risk of riding a bicycle without a helmet by far. If requiring helmets drops ridership, then that is a bad law. The article states 8 people died cycling, and doesn't say if they were head injuries to begin with. 8 people. How many died of issues related to obesity or a sedentary lifestyle? And sure, a small percentage of the patients in a head trauma unit were cyclists. Everything has a risk. That said, why does no one recommend helmets for whatever sent the larger portion of patients to the head trauma unit? If it will get more cyclists on the road and make more people active, dump the law. period.

ccinnz 03-15-18 03:26 PM

I was bought up in London and now live in NZ... In the UK there is no requirement to wear a cycle helmet and I never did, and never felt unsafe. Though I had ridden bikes round the streets from a very very early age, and in my opinion there is no better safety/road awareness training than starting young.

In NZ I wear a helmet because it is law, but am very pro personal choice on this matter. Given the option I wouldn't wear one.

I must state this is only for teens/adults, as... After seeing a young kid coming careering down a hill after losing control with his feet off the pedals as they were turning too fast for him, only to be stopped by his helmet hitting the rail of a timber barrier he went under sending him flying off the back of his bike... After seeing that I am all for helmets for kids.

scott967 03-15-18 04:30 PM

I am all for helmuts for everyone 24/7. How many slip and fall injuries are there? Luckily I grew up in an era where you could just jump on a bike and ride. Also, you could pack as many kids as you wanted into your car and use any kind of playground equipment you wanted.

scott s.
.

rydabent 03-15-18 04:47 PM

Helmet laws are stupid. OTOH I always wear a helmet when I ride, even on my trike that is close to the ground.

rumrunn6 03-15-18 05:09 PM

[QUOTE=Hippiebrian;20225468]why does no one recommend helmets for whatever sent the larger portion of patients to the head trauma unit? [QUOTE] I think they mentioned car crashes. ppl aren't going to wear helmets driving to work on 495 I can tell you that

Hippiebrian 03-15-18 05:15 PM

[QUOTE=rumrunn6;20225762][QUOTE=Hippiebrian;20225468]why does no one recommend helmets for whatever sent the larger portion of patients to the head trauma unit?

I think they mentioned car crashes. ppl aren't going to wear helmets driving to work on 495 I can tell you that
They have a higher incidence than cyclists do, which makes my point. Why is it that cycling is supposedly so dangerous that helmets are warranted but driving is supposedly so safe no helmets are required?

Reality is that neither really are, unless you really believe you are one of the unfortunate few that will suffer from head damage doing either. If you do consider either of them sufficiently dangerous enough, however, I also recommend you pick up a pedestrian helmet, as they are at most risk statistically.

rumrunn6 03-15-18 05:21 PM

[QUOTE=Hippiebrian;20225774][QUOTE=rumrunn6;20225762]

Originally Posted by Hippiebrian (Post 20225468)
a pedestrian helmet, as they are at most risk statistically.

:thumb: lets get a kickstarter for: "headgear" the helmet for everyone, everywhere. could be fashionable like the facekini

prathmann 03-15-18 05:24 PM

[QUOTE=rumrunn6;20225762][QUOTE=Hippiebrian;20225468]why does no one recommend helmets for whatever sent the larger portion of patients to the head trauma unit?

I think they mentioned car crashes. ppl aren't going to wear helmets driving to work on 495 I can tell you that
50 years ago people said the same thing about seat belts. I remember one boss who was insulted if you buckled up when he was driving - felt it was sign you didn't trust his driving.

But based on the studies on the ridership declines when the helmet laws were introduced in NZ and Australia it seems pretty clear that overall health would be improved if they were repealed.

Bald Paul 03-15-18 06:17 PM


Originally Posted by Hippiebrian (Post 20225774)
Why is it that cycling is supposedly so dangerous that helmets are warranted but driving is supposedly so safe no helmets are required?

I think one could argue that a person driving a car, with seat belts, airbags, and a steel structure over their head, has a significant advantage in head protection vs. a person on a bicycle, who is more apt to suddenly reduce his or her forward momentum by means of the skull in a collision or crash.

jon c. 03-15-18 06:34 PM

No reason helmets should be mandatory.

CliffordK 03-15-18 07:44 PM

I'm not sure that the people who choose not to ride because of a helmet law would actually be out there pounding the pavement if there was no helmet law. Perhaps the occasional trip around the block :foo:

I don't really pay attention to who is wearing helmets and who isn't. But, in my circles, there is a fair amount of peer pressure to wear helmets.

One option might be to reduce legal liability for head and neck injuries, and traumatic brain injury for cyclists who aren't wearing helmets, and maintain an education program for cycling with helmets while not making it a legal requirement.

One thing I don't like about laws is that they often confuse compliance with logic. So, riding your bike in heavy traffic.... yep, a helmet is a smart choice. But, riding at a casual pace on a deserted bike path, it probably is no more needed than requiring joggers to wear helmets.

AlexanderLS 03-15-18 08:07 PM

There are always going to be people who prefer to ride without helmets. The amount of foam required to protect ensures that helmets are not fashionable.
Just like everything else in life, it's a choice.

I wear a helmet to set a good example for the children who might see me.

I'd imagine a law targeting children and requiring them to wear a helmet goes unenforced. There are many laws on the books that go unenforced.

CliffordK 03-15-18 08:32 PM

There used to be give-away programs for FREE kid's helmets.

I'd imagine purchased in bulk, plain ones are very cheap. I'm seeing prices on Alibaba as low as $1 to $2 each for kid's helmets. Perhaps one needs to verify that they actually conform to current standards.

It actually would probably be a good deal to simply give away free kid's helmets, hoping to get them hooked on helmets so one can later sell the adults $200 helmets :eek:

Daniel4 03-15-18 09:28 PM

I wear a helmet for my headlamp and rear lamp. One day I'll get a helmet cam too. I used to strap a radio on it but now I carry it in my breast pocket.

I think the law should legislate driving helmets since there are auto collisions everyday.

General Geoff 03-15-18 11:50 PM

Helmet wearing should be at the discretion of the rider, not a mandate by the government.

Stadjer 03-16-18 04:10 AM


Originally Posted by CliffordK (Post 20225985)
I'm not sure that the people who choose not to ride because of a helmet law would actually be out there pounding the pavement if there was no helmet law. Perhaps the occasional trip around the block :foo:

It's not going to affect the road cycling enthousiast much who changes to spandex before riding anyway. Even if he'd start cycling because he could ride without a helmet he wouldn't affect health statistics very much because he'd likely be doing a different sport before. It's the formerly inactive who jumps on his bike for a leisurely ride to get groceries, to visit friends or just to enjoy the weather who makes the health difference.


One thing I don't like about laws is that they often confuse compliance with logic. So, riding your bike in heavy traffic.... yep, a helmet is a smart choice. But, riding at a casual pace on a deserted bike path, it probably is no more needed than requiring joggers to wear helmets.
Is it? I believe it's more of a case of 'when you only have a hammer every problem starts to look like a nail' than logic. It seems to me the most likely circumstances for a helmet to offer protection is when you go into a collision head first (drop bars) at considerable speed. In heavy traffic it makes much more sense to reduce speed to be able to avoid collisions and a helmet does very little to protect against collisions at typical vehicle speed and nothing to injury to the face, neck or body. On top of that, cycling in heavy traffic would get a lot safer if there were a lot of cyclists in normal clothes riding around slowly.

It's common nonsense that the helmet would mean the difference between safe and unsafe. It's nothing like seat belt, a condom or brakes. Not all safety devices work like that, a bicycle helmet is a very limited one. Cycling safety is a matter of a lot of measures combined. Helmet advocacy is a solution to a different problem than cycling unsafety, like lazy city planners or low infrastructure budgets.

CliffordK 03-16-18 05:02 AM


Originally Posted by Stadjer (Post 20226310)
It's common nonsense that the helmet would mean the difference between safe and unsafe. It's nothing like seat belt ...

But, there are arguments against seatbelts too...

The seatbelt is helpful for high speed accidents, and roll-over accidents. Yet, it may actually cause whiplash and other soft tissue injuries in low speed accidents. Generally not life threatening, but worse injuries than if the seatbelt hadn't been worn.

And, of course, the fear of getting stuck in a seatbelt when one must rapidly get loose, whether real or imagined.

Arguments for or against helmets are likely similar. Good for protecting against some accidents. Insufficient in other accident types, and unnecessary in other accidents. I have also been riding in the heat and determined that overheating and the potential for heat related injuries was more serious than not wearing the helmet.

dabac 03-16-18 05:09 AM

For people looking for excuses to keep from riding, referring to not wanting to use a helmet - if helmet use is mandatory - is one that's fairly accepted.
I still think it's more of an excuse than a firmly held distaste of helmet wear.
I'm always slightly intrigued by people who'll happily wear hats or caps, and still sneer at helmet use.
To me helmet use is about as emotionally charged as washing hands after being to the toilet.
It's what you do if the opportunity is there.
If it isn't, then so be it.
A helmetless ride is probably less likely to cause me trouble than a mid-ride tinkle w/o a wash.
I don't think helmet use has saved my life.
Don't think I'd be riding at all if riding was dangerous enough to make helmet use a significant boost to my survival rate.
But I'm quite convinced that helmet use has saved me from scalp abrasions, lumps and bad headaches.
Maybe even a concussion.
That scale of things is more realistic, and important enough in its own right.
For what they cost me to use, in money and comfort, I'll happily wear them as much as "possible".

europa 03-16-18 05:14 AM

I live in Australia - compulsory helmet law.
I see a lot of riders with poorly adjusted helmets, helmets sitting on the back of their head, not even done up at all... but they are obeying the law (apart from the ones who don't do them up)
About the only thing that has been proven to make cycling safer is more bikes on the roads, anything else has either weak evidence or contradictory evidence. The experience in Australia was that introducing compulsory helmets also dramatically reduced the number of riders - you could say that compulsory helmets therefore made cycling more dangerous.
The requirement to wear a helmet is still cited as an excuse not to get on a bike - it just makes it too hard, and while it can be sniffed at as a poor excuse, it's valid. Imagine you decided to get back on your bike. You go out to the back shed and pull out the old bike. It's filthy and looks like the tyres will still hold air. However, your helmet was stored with the bike and is now full of dirt and spiders and basically unwearable. In this country, if you want to try cycling again, you have to go to a bike shop and spend money first. This does not encourage you to 'just give it a try' and yes, this scenario does happen, it happened to me.
Compulsory helmets has been the bane of cycle share operations and blamed for the demise of at least one. I know I wouldn't want to jump on a bike and have to wear a helmet someone else has been wearing - do you carry a helmet with you at all times?

I've been cycling long enough to have been doing so long before they became compulsory. As it happens, I chose to wear a helmet for nearly all my riding for some years before they became compulsory - this started at a time when they were damned hard to get here. So I'm not against helmets per se, just the compulsion.

A few examples from my own experience.
Some years ago, I loaded the two kids, the dog and our bikes into the car and drove down to a local river path. The idea was to do a short ride along a bike path, have a picnic, then ride back to the car. I parked the car. Unloaded the bikes and got the kids sorted out. Assembled the dog's trailer and hooked it up to my bike. Then realised I'd left my helmet at home. What was I supposed to do? According to the law, I was supposed to load everything back into the car, disappoint the kids (and the dog), and drive home again. I didn't and risked a $400 fine. FFS, it was a bike path, not even on the road and at five year old speeds, not very fast.
Every day, I park a few hundred metres from work, go for a ride, then spend the day earning money for bike parts. At the end of the day, I pack all my kit into a pannier, then walk the bike back to the car for the drive home. I can't ride the bike back to the car because my helmet has been packed into the pannier. I could, of course, ride back to the car wearing the helmet, then pack it in my bag for the trip home, but on a daily basis, it becomes a pita.
I like working on my bikes. Everytime I've done some repairs or made some change, I like to take a quick ride in my street, just to check I haven't screwed up. Only up the street and back, and it's a dead end so it's a very quiet back street. According to the law, I have to wear a helmet. I'm an awful fiend, I usually don't bother.

On the other hand, nearly all my riding is done wearing a helmet and some of it is in circumstances where you'd be a mug not to. However, I'm not insane or stupid, I can work out the difference myself.

And the situation is not helped by the lousy Australian bike industry which, at times, makes it nearly impossible to find a decent helmet - I went through this in January when stocks and available sizes were pathetic and I basically bought the only one that came close to fitting (a mistake as it happens... and no, stocks haven't improved much).

I don't object to helmets or their use, I only object to being forced to at all times.

jon c. 03-16-18 05:57 AM


Originally Posted by Stadjer (Post 20226310)
IOn top of that, cycling in heavy traffic would get a lot safer if there were a lot of cyclists in normal clothes riding around slowly.

I don't understand what difference the clothing would make in terms of safety.

mcours2006 03-16-18 06:57 AM

I ride without a helmet sometimes when I am riding around my own neighbourhood on my clunky MTB, but having had a couple of crashes of significance in the past few years I was quite glad I had on my helmet.

There's no helmet law for adults here, only kids under 16, but you'd be surprised how many adults I talk to believe that the law applies to them as well. I doubt that's the reason they do not ride, though.

europa 03-16-18 07:15 AM

I don't think that anyone who lives WITHOUT a mandatory helmet law can honestly comment. They all know that they can ride their bike at any time, dressed how they like, without legal intervention. It's a huge step from there to watching over your shoulder for a cop with a grudge or a quota to fill and unless you've lived it, you really don't know how restrictive that can be.

Daniel4 03-16-18 07:26 AM

Many countries in Northern Europe don't legislate wearing a helmet. That's because their driving laws are so strict.

So a mandatory law in your community gives a message that bad driving is acceptable.


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